Despite coming within touching distance of the welterweight title, the gold has evaded Stephen Thompson twice. His second opportunity at the 170 pound belt left him needing surgery to his medial meniscus. With an impending return, the question on MMA fans’ lips is: who will ‘Wonderboy’ face next? It seems the answer may be MMA legend, Nick Diaz.
In an interview with Champions, Stephen Thompson gave an insight on what is next for his career. For starters, he noted that he would be back in action come September. “That will give me lots of time to heal and also get in a full camp.” Thompson injured his knee in the rematch with the welterweight champion, Tyron Woodley. The second bout did not live up to the excitement of the first meeting but it answered the question that the previous fight left open, all be it in a still rather unclear way.
However, ‘Wonderboy’ is ready to move forward with his career, turning his attention to a proposed bout with Nick Diaz. Since fulfilling his NSAC suspension, the UFC have been trying to get Nick Diaz back in the octagon for some time. This is proving to be rather difficult. Diaz will only return for the right price and an intriguing challenge. He does not seem to be enticed by the idea of fighting for the welterweight title or in rematches against old foes.
Although the fight has not been offered, it seems ‘Wonderboy’ could be the perfect match. It makes sense for both fighters. It would be a good return fight for Diaz, he wants to fight a star but nobody wants to see a rehash of his old feuds. It would be a test for him as, to my mind, he has not fought a sport Karate guy like Thompson before. It is an intriguing fight.
For Thompson, it would be another big fight for his resume that does not take him too far away from the title picture. Thompson is undeniably championship material, he just cannot get it done against Woodley. But, by the time ‘Wonderboy’ has gained even more popularity against Nick, Woodley may no longer be the champion. Who knows, by September the winner of Masvidal/Maia or Lawler/Cerrone may have earned a title shot and snatched the belt. At which point, Thompson would be in prime position to step back into the title picture as he is at the top of the division.
Thompson welcomes a fight with Nick Diaz. “Anyone in the division would be an exciting fight, but a fight with Nick Diaz would be an all out stand-up war.”, “He’s not the type of guy that looks for a takedown and you know it would just be a case of us battling it out on the feet.”
The fight would also have a fun narrative as ‘Wonderboy’ is polite and respectful and Diaz is the bad boy of MMA. This could be a crazy fight in the welterweight division and definitely the entertaining kind of fight WME are looking to make. Subscribe for more on combat sports, movies and TV shows.